Legislative Update 10-6-23

Storey urges county leaders to ‘prepare for four’; MAC members fill board slots, approve policy platforms

Allegan County Commissioner Jim Storey salutes the audience following his inaugural remarks as MAC’s 115th Board president on Oct. 2 at the 2023 MAC Annual Conference in Kalamazoo. (Brooke Peters Photography)

The coming year will be an historic one in Michigan county government, MAC Board President Jim Storey a 2023 Annual Conference audience this week after being sworn in as the association’s 115th Board president.

Speaking on the theme of “Together, preparing for four,” Storey spoke extensively on next year’s elections, which will provide for four-year terms for directly elected county commissioners for the first time:

“In a citizenry more divided than perhaps not since the Civil War, it is impossible for one person to create the pathway for achieving the legislative goals you will consider tomorrow at our plenary session.

“It is, however, possible for the talented, experienced and dedicated team here in this room to achieve lasting and remarkable success,” he said to the President’s Banquet audience on Oct. 2. “It is possible because I believe these county commissioners and our colleagues at home, working with our able and effective association staff, can create the best year yet in the 125-year history of the Michigan Association of Counties.”

The banquet and Storey’s remarks capped a busy conference agenda during MAC’s 125th Anniversary year.

During regional caucuses held earlier on Oct. 2, members re-elected Storey and three other members of the 16-member MAC Board of Directors:

  • Stan Ponstein of Kent County
  • Richard Schmidt of Manistee County
  • Joe Bonovetz of Gogebic County

Officers for the Michigan Association of Counties’ Board of Directors in 2023-24 will be (l-r): Antoinette Wallace of Macomb County (2nd vice president), Jim Storey of Allegan County (president), Melissa Daub of Wayne County (1st vice president) and Stan Ponstein of Kent County (immediate past president).

In turn, Board members voted to create a 2023-24 Executive Committee led by Storey and including:

  • Melissa Daub of Wayne County (first vice president)
  • Antoinette Wallace of Macomb County (second vice president)
  • Stan Ponstein (immediate past president)

On Oct. 3, during their Annual Business Meeting, MAC members approved policy platforms developed by MAC’s policy committees overseeing issue areas ranging from finance to agriculture and tourism.

“The conference was a great opportunity to celebrate MAC’s 125 years of serving Michigan counties,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “Kalamazoo County was an excellent host and attendance was up from our 2022 event.”

For those unable to attend the event, MAC has assembled a variety of conference materials that can be accessed 24/7 at our website.

MAC’s 2024 conference schedule includes:

  • Legislative Conference, April 29-May 1, Doubletree Hotel and Lansing Center in Ingham County
  • Annual Conference, Sept. 24-26, Grand Traverse Resort in Grand Traverse County

 

House and Senate advance PPT reimbursement bills      

Legislation to create a reimbursement process for local governments who will lose money due to Personal Property Tax exemptions this year advanced in both legislative chambers this week.

The Michigan House approved House Bills 4553 and 4554, by Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Kent) and Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Macomb) respectively, while the Senate approved Senate Bill 331, by Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-Wayne). All three bills reflect a key MAC priority for 2023.

The House bills now move to the Senate, while the Senate bill heads to the House for review.

MAC began pursuit of legislation after the Legislature, in December 2021, expanded the PPT exemption for businesses from $80,000 in true cash value exemption to $180,000. This move created an estimated $75 million annual loss for local governments.

Because this exemption is not based on the value of property initially exempted in 2014 with the large PPT overhaul legislation, calculating the loss for each county and community needs to be based on a different formula. It took more than a year to determine the best mechanism and methodology for calculating the reimbursements, as reflected in the current bills.

The bills also carve out $75 million from the state’s use tax to fund the reimbursement.

The expansion of the PPT exemption is effective this year and without enactment of these bills, locals would be left with a shortfall. MAC will continue to work to ensure these bills are enacted before the Legislature’s anticipated adjournment in early November.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Download list of contact numbers for rail emergencies

The Michigan Railroads Association (MRA) has updated their emergency contact numbers for freight railroads operating in Michigan. The MRA Railroad Emergency Contact brochure contains a map and key for rail lines within Michigan, along with the emergency contact numbers for these railroads.

At each crossing there should be a blue and white Emergency Notification Signs with the railroad name, emergency contact number, and USDOT National Crossing Inventory Number.

The MRA is working to ensure all Michigan first responders have access to this brochure, as well as any others that may find the document useful. 

 

NACo partner offers training deal on cybersecurity

This October marks 20 years of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

As security education expands across organizations, so do the cyberthreats they face. In response, local governments across the country are joining the NACo Cybersecurity Leadership Academy: a 12-week virtual course with the latest insights from industry experts and current CIOs/CISOs in the field, as well as the opportunity to network with cybersecurity professionals across the nation.

It coaches participants on what it means to think and act as a cybersecurity leader. Throughout the month of October, every municipality can enroll one employee in the program ($1,995), and a second can join the Leadership Academy for free.

The next session kicks off Jan. 8, 2024. You can find out more here or reach out to our Academy contact, Matt Barnard (mattb@pdaleadership.com) to claim your BOGO.

 

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